COBBFENDLEY, from page 5
made available to selected staff. About 10 percent of the staff owns shares directly, in addition to their ESOP participation. The stock is made desirable by the steady increase in value as the firm grows and by salary bonuses. Many managers participate in numerically derived incentive compensation plans that reward good performance of their groups. These managers’ pursuits of their goals are also a key to the continued growth and success of the firm. As they seek to achieve the annual goals laid out for them, their groups grow naturally and generate profits, creating a rising tide for the company. This all works to create an internal market for the stock held by the most senior stockholders, who are under a mandatory “sell-down” arrangement to keep stock from becoming concentrated in too few hands and causing a future outside sale crisis. “Company culture. This term comes up frequently in conversations around our firm. We do a lot of our college recruiting through internships and we find that even the interns will refer to our culture as one of the attractive things about the firm.”
in American Sniper . TZL: What’s the last movie you saw? BA: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children . TZL: What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever gotten? BA: This can be for personal or business – “Be relative.” “Treat your associates and employees with respect. Listen to ideas and participate in new approaches. It’s so easy to over-talk and insert your own ideas. Ask questions instead of instilling the final idea.” TZL: Who is a leader you admire? BA: Chris Kyle, Navy SEAL, arguably one of the best military snipers, leaders, and patriots we have seen in recent times. He is resolute, decisive, humble, and no matter where he goes any group of men would follow him into battle without hesitation. TZL: When you’re not working, what types of activities do you enjoy? BA: Spending time with my two children, live sporting events, cooking on my Green Egg, socializing, working out, cycling, and running. TZL: Favorite lunch? BA: Anything – as long as a Blue Moon beer accompanies it. ❚ ❚ Company culture. This term comes up frequently in conversations around our firm. We do a lot of our college recruiting through internships and we find that even the interns will refer to our culture as one of the attractive things about the firm. So, if we could actually describe our culture – we might have something! Seriously, it is not something you can design, implement, or change easily. It seems to flow from the management approach of the firm. We always strive to give clients what they need, not what we are trying to sell. We stay true to our stated agreements and finish our projects. We “make it right” if there is a problem. We value our people’s opinions and time. Our leaders pitch in and help wherever there is a need. We find that people making the transition into our firm from large firms are sometimes disoriented by the lack of hierarchy and the “just get it done” approach we follow. And lastly, our corporate organization follows the concept that we have clients as well – our people. The organization is here to serve the staff – to allow them to do their work as well and efficiently as possible with minimal distractions from “business stuff.”
Q&A , from page 7
and state permitting. We integrated members of four of our practice areas into one project that has led to more opportunities with UGA. TZL: How have you helped your firm to outperform some competitors? What do you feel sets you apart? BA: I believe it’s the relationships with our clients. We pursue and hire people who are exceptionally competent, but who are also great to be around, have fun personalities, and embody urgency. I tend to tune out the competition over the last few years and want our firm to focus on building relationships that allow us to grow with them and weather a storm from time to time. Our fees are never the lowest in town, but our clients know that they get so much from our firm. TZL: What’s one thing most people at the firm don’t know about you? BA: I’m a recovering soccer player for more than 23 years. I’ve played all over the southeast and Virginia. I’m also a recovering triathlete, although I’m planning an Olympic distance and a half Ironman event in 2017. I have a running shoe fetish that is pretty silly. TZL: Dream vacation destination? BA: Maldives. TZL: Last book read? BA: Well, I tune out to books like the Divergent or The Hunger Games series. I might catch some jokes on that one. But a few books I enjoyed recently are the Steve Jobs bio, Marcus Lattrell in Lone Survivor , and the life of Chris Kyle
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THE ZWEIG LETTER January 9, 2017, ISSUE 1182
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